FH Gymnastics vaults into rival match-up with the Lowell Red Arrows


Lucas Thompson

FH gymnastics gathers around before the first event.

On Wednesday, January 4, the FH gymnastics team traveled to Lowell and competed in the compact building that the Red Arrows call home. History is present between the two teams, especially from last year when Forest Hills surpassed the Red Arrows in the regional finals to secure a 3rd place spot after falling to Lowell in the regular season. 

The emotions were high and the energy was buzzing throughout the Runciman Building; Lowell is not a team Forest Hills could just walk all over. Thankfully, FH gymnastics had leadership in senior Abby Cummings, who has competed for FH for a while now so this opponent was no stranger to her. 

“We know it will be a battle,” Abby started. “Our teams are very close in talents and scores, so we have to be at our best every time we go up against [Lowell]. There is always a feeling of nervousness yet excitement to show off our skills.”

The gymnasts are a tight-knit group and support is common within the team. For each and every event, cheers and hollers echoed through the hallways of Runciman; while being supportive is positive for any team, for Forest Hills it provides a boost just before each gymnast launch from the mat.

Not all the gymnasts compete in every event so some find themselves helping their team through their volume. Senior Lauren Wolffis discussed her appreciation for her team’s support towards her and others on the team. 

“I always get a rush of adrenaline when my teammates cheer me on,” Lauren explained. “I think that everyone is really good at encouraging everyone even when they aren’t competing.” 

The girls began on bars with impressive performances presented by Abby and fellow senior Payton Dailey. Lowell racked up points on vault through Forest Hill’s time on bars. After swapping, Forest Hills took on vault and gained suitable scores from numerous gymnasts. 

Due to the size of the building, there was a small intermission to set up the tables for judges to watch floor and beam routines. Following the short intermission, FH gymnastics took on the floor and the girls showed out. Senior Charlotte Stephan had a strong routine with powerful landings following senior Maddy Bachert who also presented a stellar performance. Finally, the ladies took on the beam, with notable junior Addison Hoxworth rising to the occasion. 

However, FH gymnastics fell short of the Red Arrows 133.550-122.875. While Forest Hills walked away with a loss, there were still many aspects to be proud of.

“I am proud of the progress the team is making,” Abby exclaimed. “We have been working very hard at practice to upgrade skills and overall endurance. With every meet, we are getting better to hopefully beat Lowell for a state finals spot.”

The meet provided the audience with many notable MVPs such as FHN’s Addison Hoxworth, Charlotte Stephan, and Claire Worth. The ladies are led by head coach Jordan Lytle. In Lytle’s eyes, this loss gave the gymnasts a chance to compete against a high-level team. 

Lowell has a wonderful youth program that helps flow into their high school program.” Lytle discussed. “They have the advantage of working with many of their athletes long before they get to high school which has allowed them to build a great program. This is something that we are aware of when we compete against them. There are not many gymnastics programs in our area so we appreciate teams like Lowell and the opportunity to compete against them.”

Lytle has confidence in her girls, just as the girls trust their coach. This intense bond is how Forest Hills will look for a podium finish at the invite. FH gymnastics will travel to Rockford for the Flip-Flop Invite on Saturday, January 7, at 10 a.m.